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A leading Chicago Muslim organization has welcomed the arrest of a woman who vandalized 21 houses of worship throughout Lake County during the span of one week, the attacks which united interfaith communities against hate.
“The Chicagoland Muslim community greatly appreciates the work of city officials and law enforcement in Lake County who were able to track down and apprehend the culprit involved in these hate crimes,” Aymen Abdel Halim, Communications Director for the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC), a federation of 58 Islamic organizations, said in a statement sent to OnIslam.net.
A few days ago, a number of Gurnee churches and mosques have reported acts of vandalism.
The attacks spread later to hit St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Christian Church and the Islamic Foundation North in Waukegan.
According to detective bureau and authorities, hate messages scrawled at the entrance of a mosque and a church were accompanied by a smiley face in red spray paint.
On Friday, February 28, authorities filed felony charges against Gurnee woman, saying she was responsible for defacing Lake County houses of worship with red spray paint.
The CIOGC statement added that 22-year-old Meghan Heinz vandalized 10 religious institutions in Gurnee, 9 in Waukegan, and one in both Green Oaks and Libertyville.
The attacks resulted in uniting the efforts of the Islamic Foundation North mosque and the St. Demetrios church in Waukegan to denounce the hateful graffiti as part of an interfaith coalition.
Since the attacks, CIOGC has received numerous calls from their partners in the (Roman Catholic) Archdiocese, Presbyterian Church, United Methodist Church and the Chicago Board of Rabbis offering their support and services.
“The vandal might not have expected the interfaith community to unite against hate in the powerful way that it did,” Abdel Halim went on to say.
“This unity, along with our cooperation with a dedicated group of city officials and law enforcement professionals, have helped bring justice to the religious institutions that have been affected.”